After 190 Formula 1 starts, Sergio Perez is a race winner. He won the Sakhir Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit following a dramatic issue-laden finish for Mercedes.
In his 190th career Formula 1 start, Sergio Perez can finally call himself a winner. No driver had ever secured his first win beyond career start number 130. Mark Webber secured his first win in his 130th start in the 2009 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, so Perez shattered his record by 60 starts.
Perez was involved in an opening lap crash involving Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in today’s Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit outer layout. He did not drop out of competition like they did, but he was forced to restart in 18th (last) place behind the safety car.
But the Racing Point driver was able to drive his way back up to the front and take the checkered flag by 10.518 seconds over Renault’s Esteban Ocon, who had never previously finished in the top four.
The top five did not feature any Mercedes or Red Bull drivers, as Racing Point took their first ever double podium finish with Lance Stroll finishing in third place. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. finished in fourth ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.
Perez’s win comes just one week after he lost a podium finish at the track’s regular layout due to a late mechanical issue, but it did not come without Mercedes suffering issues of their own.
Valtteri Bottas started the 87-lap race around the 11-turn, 2.202-mile (3.544-kilometer) road course in Sakhir, Bahrain from the pole position but was quickly passed on the inside for the lead by George Russell, the full-time Williams driver who replaced seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton at the Silver Arrows for the weekend after Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19.
Russell went on to dominate the race, but a safety car period caused by his Williams replacement, Jack Aitken, turned the race on its ear.
Mercedes attempted the double stack in the pits for new tires with Russell in the lead and Bottas in second place. But they mixed up the tires, and after a slow stop for Bottas, Russell had to come back into the pits.
Russell still, however, had a shot to win. He only dropped to fifth place behind Bottas in fourth, and Bottas was running the hard tires while Russell was running the mediums.
Russell made quick work of Bottas, Stroll and Ocon, but as he was closing the gap to Perez for the lead in the closing laps, one of his tires experienced a puncture, forcing him to make a fourth pit stop.
He dropped down to 15th out of the 17 remaining drivers, but he was able to rally for a career-high ninth to score two points. He also recorded the race’s fastest lap, netting him an additional point. He had never previously scored any points in Formula 1.
Bottas finished just ahead of him in eighth place behind Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in sixth and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat in seventh. McLaren’s Lando Norris scored the race’s final point with a 10th place result.
Here are the full race results of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.
1st – Sergio Perez
2nd – Esteban Ocon
3rd – Lance Stroll
4th – Carlos Sainz Jr.
5th – Daniel Ricciardo
6th – Alexander Albon
7th – Daniil Kvyat
8th – Valtteri Bottas
9th – George Russell
10th – Lando Norris
11th – Pierre Gasly
12th – Sebastian Vettel
13th – Antonio Giovinazzi
14th – Kimi Raikkonen
15th – Kevin Magnussen
16th – Jack Aitken
17th – Pietro Fittipaldi
18th – Nicholas Latifi
19th – Max Verstappen
20th – Charles Leclerc
Here are the updated driver standings and constructor standings following Perez’s win.
Rank – Driver: Points (Behind)
1st – Lewis Hamilton: 332 (0)
2nd – Valtteri Bottas: 205 (-127)
3rd – Max Verstappen: 189 (-143)
4th – Sergio Perez: 125 (-207)
5th – Daniel Ricciardo: 112 (-220)
6th – Charles Leclerc: 98 (-234)
7th – Carlos Sainz Jr.: 97 (-235)
8th – Alexander Albon: 93 (-239)
9th – Lando Norris: 87 (-245)
10th – Lance Stroll: 74 (-258)
11th – Pierre Gasly: 71 (-261)
12th – Esteban Ocon: 60 (-272)
13th – Sebastian Vettel: 33 (-299)
14th – Daniil Kvyat: 32 (-300)
15th – Nico Hulkenberg: 10 (-322)
16th – Antonio Giovinazzi: 4 (-328)
16th – Kimi Raikkonen: 4 (-328)
18th – George Russell: 3 (-329)
19th – Romain Grosjean: 2 (-330)
20th – Kevin Magnussen: 1 (-331)
21st – Nicholas Latifi: 0 (-332)
21st – Pietro Fittipaldi: 0 (-332)
21st – Jack Aitken: 0 (-332)
Rank – Constructor: Points (Behind)
1st – Mercedes: 540 (-)
2nd – Red Bull Racing-Honda: 282 (-258)
3rd – Racing Point-Mercedes: 194 (-346)
4th – McLaren-Renault: 184 (-356)
5th – Renault: 172 (-368)
6th – Ferrari: 131 (-409)
7th – AlphaTauri-Honda: 103 (-437)
8th – Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari: 8 (-532)
9th – Haas-Ferrari: 3 (-537)
10th – Williams-Mercedes: 0 (-540)
The next race on the 2020 Formula 1 schedule is the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, which is set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 8:10 a.m. ET on Sunday, December 13.